Restaurant Development & Design


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W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 • R E S T A U R A N T D E V E L O P M E N T + D E S I G N • 4 5 In December 2013, the company announced the addition of 50 Market Grille and Market Cafe restaurants to its stores throughout the Midwest as part of a systemwide shift to a full-service din- ing model. In total, Hy-Vee will retroft about 235 of its locations with full- service restaurants, a transition expected to take 3 years to complete. As it now stands, Hy-Vee has three Market Grille restaurants in operation and four to fve more casual Market Cafes. The transition is being made to appeal to its customers but also to drive dinner business. "Our breakfast and lunch business is very busy, but our evening business was not up to the same level," Comer says. "We want to do something to make our store dining areas a destination for our dinner customer." In-Store Dining Redesigned As part of Hy-Vee's restaurant evolution, the company is making signifcant design changes to its in-store dining areas. The upgrades include new booths, tables, lighting and decor. Additionally, Hy-Vee's restaurants will feature liquor sales for the frst time, with Market Cafes selling wine and beer and Market Grill locations featur- ing a full bar. The restaurants also will have several fat-screen televisions, as do many QSR and casual-dining players. "Based on our research and the listen- ing that we did [from customer input], this is what a large number of our customers are looking for in the evening as compared to a self-service or food-court type of atmosphere that's been popular at lunch," Comer says. "We want our restaurants to refect the culinary expertise we now have. With the introduction of more trained chefs and foodservice experts in our stores, this is the next logical step." Similar to other supermarkets, Hy-Vee now designs its spaces to be more inviting to shoppers and to evoke a separate feel from consumers' shopping experience. The goal is to capture more of the consumer's food dollar, now being spent at restaurant operations across the street and across the country. "All of the spaces are being designed with purpose," says interior designer Krista Watterworth, who has de- signed restaurants for the Food Network television show "Restaurant: Impos- sible." She explains, "It's really about creating intimacy in the vastness of the commercial space." Additionally, these supermarket restaurants feature natural materials such as wood and fooring that differ from what consumers experience in the grocery space. More important, the dine-in areas do not refect the design or experience of a food court. "The way we live, we're on the fy constantly, so grocers are creating a space where people can stop and sit for 20 min- utes and make that part of their shopping routine," Watterworth says. "It's a great way for people to relax, and it's also a great way to advertise products. The way that we market today is so much more organic, and I think that's part of this whole thing. Our lives are becoming more integrated with our needs, both our commercial needs and our product needs." To combat the consumer mindset that supermarkets and grocery stores can't deliver an intimate and comfortable restaurant experience, retailers continue to look for ways they can lead the trend, rather than go along with it. Giammarco and his team at H2G worked on the development of Buehler's Market in Ohio and Glen's Garden Market in Washing- ton, D.C. "Glen's is a specialty food store designed to appeal to foodies or health-conscious consumers who resonate with social trends such as buying local," he says. "We felt that it was important to offer a space where customers could meet and gather, and consume foods offered in the store." The dining area at Glen's Garden Market behaves like a wine bar because it serves local wine and beer in addition to small plates. "It's really an extension of the market itself but, in a sense, the areas leverage off of each other," Giam- marco notes. "Having restaurants in su- permarkets really validates and conveys a quality of fresh and, in many ways, of Specialty retailers like Whole Foods Markets, seen here, now have full restaurants in their stores. In mid-December Whole Foods opened a 56,000-square-foot store in Brooklyn, N.Y., that features a rooftop tap room and restaurant, as well as an in-house ramen chef, a pizza station with a wood-fred oven and a fresh juice bar.

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